Car importers are incurring huge losses after more than 7,000 vehicles have been left stranded at the Mombasa Port due to failure by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to issue number plates.
Various associations of car importers have decried the shortage of number plates noting that despite paying all port charges, they are expected to incur more costs with the delays of the vehicles at various warehouses.
Kenya International Freight Warehousing Association chairperson Roy Mwanthi urged NTSA to speed up the process of issuing number plates to prevent losses to importers.
"There is congestion in different car depots in Mombasa despite clearing with KRA, but the vehicles cannot be released without number plates. This has resulted in increased costs for importers as they are incurring demurrage every day.
"A number of importers are stranded, and with more vehicles being imported, this will result in huge losses to dealers and individual importers," Mwanthi stated.
Car Imports Association of Kenya (CIAK) chairman Peter Otieno pointed out that both KRA and NTSA systems were not reconciling, hence causing confusion among importers.
"We are also having issues where a car is cleared by NTSA but in the KRA system, it is not reflecting, "Otieno stated.
In a letter to KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu, NTSA Director-General George Njao blamed the suppliers for the number plates shortage.
"NTSA is currently experiencing delays in production and supply of number plates and log-books from our suppliers, the State Department of Correctional Services (SDCS) and the Government Printer respectively," he stated.
Njao also requested KRA to release all registered vehicles in order to reduce congestion at the ports. He added that the number plates issue would be resolved in a few days.
"As a stop-gap measure we kindly request you to authorize the release of vehicles which have been duly registered and the e-sticker affixed on their windshield, pending issuance of the physical number plates and the logbooks," Njao stated in the letter.
The news comes as the tax authority had recently put over 300 vehicles, which had overstayed at the ports, on auction after their owners failed to pay tax.
The mass auction led to huge sales after interested motorists placed the highest bids for the vehicles.